GOP Leadership’s Bait & Switch Will Fund Planned Parenthood
There is one enduring observation about contemporary party politics that serves as a guide to those perplexed by the actions of our politicians: whereas Democrats harness their base to advance the party’s liberal agenda, the Republican establishment works to undermine, deceive, and disenfranchise its own base the minute they have pocketed their support in the general election.
Everything else makes sense once you internalize this observation.
The latest artifice from the GOP establishment is on display this week with their newest plan to make an end-run around the base and fund Planned Parenthood. This time they plan to highjack the budget reconciliation process and make it a shiny object for defunding Planned Parenthood, while ensuring that the final budget bill – the operative one funding the rest of the government – contains no such prohibition.
For clarity’s sake, it’s important to distinguish between a “budget bill” and a budget reconciliation bill. A budget bill is an appropriations bill – the operative bill that funds government – whether in individual appropriations bills or catch-all bills, such as omnibus bills and Continuing Resolutions. These are “must pass” bills and represent the strongest leverage for the opposition party in control of Congress to utilize in pursuit of critical or emergency policy priorities. Also, like any piece of legislation, these bills can be filibustered by the minority party in the Senate.
With Republicans controlling Congress but not the White House, if they were actually committed to fighting for conservatives they would take a bifurcated approach by pursuing long term priorities through messaging vehicles, and emergency priorities – priorities that harness moral clarity – through “must pass” and budget bills.
A budget reconciliation bill, on the other hand, is not a must-pass bill and is not needed to fund the government. It is merely an ancillary tool of the budget process in which the majority party in the Senate can pass certain legislative priorities that affect outlays and send it to the president’s desk without encountering a filibuster from the minority in the Senate. When the majority party lacks 60 votes in the Senate but occupies the White House, this is a perfect tool for passing their pet legislation. And indeed, this is how Democrats passed Obamacare after they lost their 60th vote in the Senate with the election of Scott Brown in 2010.
But with Obama in the White House, the GOP majority in the Senate has no ability to enact budget reconciliation changes into law and no leverage to force the issue because no government funding is dependent upon its passage. Obama can just ignore or veto it without facing any repercussions.
What reconciliation is good for when confronting a president of the opposing party is messaging. With Republicans controlling Congress but not the White House, if they were actually committed to fighting for conservatives they would take a bifurcated approach by pursuing long term priorities through messaging vehicles, and emergency priorities – priorities that harness moral clarity – through “must pass” and budget bills. Continue Reading.....Here